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Losing Money on Arbitrage: Optimal Dynamic Portfolio Choice in Markets with Arbitrage Opportunities

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  • Jun Liu

Abstract

We derive the optimal investment policy of a risk-averse investor in a market where there is a textbook arbitrage opportunity, but where liabilities must be secured by collateral. We find that it is often optimal to underinvest in the arbitrage by taking a smaller position than collateral constraints allow. Even when the optimal policy is followed, the arbitrage portfolio typically experiences losses before the final convergence date. In fact, its initial performance may be indistinguishable from that of a conventional portfolio with a poor track record. These results have important implications for the role of arbitrageurs in financial markets. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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  • Jun Liu, 2004. "Losing Money on Arbitrage: Optimal Dynamic Portfolio Choice in Markets with Arbitrage Opportunities," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(3), pages 611-641.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:17:y:2004:i:3:p:611-641
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